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O-52 Owl: Wikis


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An O-52 at National Museum of the United States Air Force
Role Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Buffalo, NY
Introduced 1940
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Produced 203
Unit cost $31,000

The Curtiss O-52 "Owl" is an observation aircraft used by the United States Army Air Corps before and during World War II.


Design and development

In 1940, the Army Air Corps ordered 203 Curtiss O-52s for observation duties. Upon delivery, the aircraft was used in military maneuvers with the USAAC, but following America's entry into World War II, the USAAF determined that the aircraft did not possess sufficient performance for "modern" combat operations in oversea areas. As a result, the O-52 was relegated to courier duties within the U.S. and short-range submarine patrol over the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The O-52 was the last "O" type aircraft procured in quantity for the Air Corps. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the "O" designation was discontinued and the "L" series for liaison-type aircraft was adopted instead.

In November 1942, the USSR ordered 30 O-52 Owls through the Lend-Lease program. Twenty-six were shipped and only 19 ever made it to their shores.[1] Of these only 10 were accepted into service. They were used operationally for artillery-fire spotting and general photographic and observation platforms. Some were still flying into the 1950s. The aircraft was generally disliked in Soviet use.


 United States
 Soviet Union


Specifications (O-52)

Data from American Warplanes of World War II [4]

General characteristics

  • Length: 26 ft 4 in (8.03 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 9 in (12.43 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 3 in (2.83 m)
  • Wing area: 210.4 ft² (19.55 m²)
  • Empty weight: 4,213 lb (1,919 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 5,364 lb (2,433 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney R-1340-51 radial engine, 600 hp (447 kW)



  • Guns: 1 × forward and 1 × rearward firing .30-cal (7.62 mm) machine gun

See also

Comparable aircraft


  1. ^ Hardesty, Von (1991). "Appendixes". Red Phoenix: The Rise of Soviet Air Power 1941-1945. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. p. 253. ISBN 0874745101.  
  2. ^ United States Air Force Museum 1975, p. 28.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Donald 1995, p.64.
  • Donald, David (1995). American Warplanes of World War II. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1 874023 72 7.  
  • United States Air Force Museum. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio: Air Force Museum Foundation. 1975.  

External links



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